Youth Travel Reflections

Introduction from Pastor Stephen:

Derry youth led worship at First Derry Presbyterian on July 7, 2024. See more photos from the trip.

Corrymeela’s purpose is to help people learn to live well together. I think our 13 youth and four adults did that this past week during our time at Corrymeela in Northern Ireland, through our programs, our tours, our experiences, and the fun we had together.

We learned more about ourselves and others through games, exercises, and programs designed to help us explore communication, conflict, hard conversations, and divisions. We engaged with the history of Ireland and learned more about The Troubles. We led worship together at First Derry Presbyterian Church.

I enjoyed all we did, but it was most rewarding to see all these youths connect and reconnect with each other. We laughed so much every day, and all the youth pushed themselves outside their comfort zones  — whether that was dancing with the group at night, sharing more about themselves and their thoughts, or asking someone for the Wifi password. 

Each night we gathered to share what we learned that day and what we’ll always remember. There were lessons learned and memories made that, I hope, will last our whole lives long.  

I asked the youth to think about why this trip was important and meaningful to them, and what some of their main takeaways were. Here are some of their responses: 

This trip helped me recontextualize conflict and helped me compare the conflict in my life and my environment to the conflict that we learned about in Northern Ireland. I learned ways that the Northern Ireland troubles were resolved, and how these methods can be used in my life.

I appreciated the trip because it helped me learn more about humanity. Because we had so many different people, it was cool to observe how they experienced the trip. Mostly, I learned about myself, and how incomplete I currently am.

The trip was meaningful to me because it was my first time out of the country, which was so amazing! I also was able to reconnect with people I grew up with, which was especially meaningful to me.

This trip was really meaningful and important to me because it’s my last trip as a “Derry youth.” It was really great to reconnect with everyone that I have known since we were in elementary school and to explore a new place together! I truly will cherish this trip forever.

I really enjoyed this trip because I got to talk to and get to know people that I haven’t seen in a while. This trip was meaningful to me because I got to go to another country for the first time. I will take away the dance parties and fun games we played and discussions that we had.

I think that I’ll take away the things we did as a group. All the memories we made while hanging out with each other will stick with me forever. 

This has been an incredibly meaningful trip to me for so many different reasons. I not only got to travel to a foreign country and had my first plane ride, but I got the opportunity to strengthen relationships with people who I haven’t had the opportunity to be with recently. I will take away all the memories from our trip! 

The trip was important to me because I was able to continue to build on relationships and learn about the Ulster-Scot language which I will be incorporating into my everyday vocabulary. I will always remember the times we shared as a group on our walks and at Corrymeela. Ireland is such a beautiful country with an interesting history, so this trip is something I will never forget.

This trip was great because it was my first time in Europe, and it was with a lot of people I haven’t been around much since college started. Learning the church’s history while also having fun hanging out, swimming, and dancing with everyone will make me remember this trip forever.

This was a very meaningful trip to me because I was able to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. I will always remember the landscape while Joey, Stephen, and I golfed in Ballycastle.

This trip was meaningful to me because traveling here to Europe and getting out of America and exploring more things than what I’m used to, has been a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed traveling with this amazing group and will cherish this forever.

Coming to Ireland was extremely meaningful to me because of the fact that I was able to have this opportunity to go to Europe at a convenient cost and learn so much.  I was also able to be with all the youth I grew up with and laugh with every single one of them.  I will take away the history of conflict we learned that took place in Ireland, all the naturalistic sites we saw, and always having fun with everyone — whether it was in The Dell View doing dance parties and late-night hangouts, or just reflecting on the iconic moments.

This trip was special because I got to know the older youth better and realized how much fun they truly are. I will take away that we should be kind and helpful to others because you never know what they may be going through. I also will take away that we should enjoy every bit of life as best as we can. 

I think this trip will forever be a meaningful church and life memory for everyone on it. This trip was made possible by your generous donations to our Empower Youth Fund. I want you all to know this trip was fundamentally about relationships and learning to live well together. I believe our time in Ireland helped us all strengthen relationships and be better citizens of the world. 

The youth will share more of what they experienced and learned at our Youth Sunday service in the fall. Thank you for investing in our youth and making this trip possible for everyone.